How I fixed my Wii’s noisy disc drive & read errors.

I got my Wii in late 2006 and around 2009 I noticed it was starting to sound like a circular saw when the disc drive was spinning. This was annoying but it didn’t affect the games so I never thought much about it.

About two weeks ago, however, New Super Mario Bros. Wii stopped working:

The Wii basically worked except for the disc drive. As soon as I put a disc in, I’d get the error above – even if I didn’t start start the game. I tried blowing in the disc slot (the only thing I could think of… worked for my old NES!) but the problem continued. I figured I had two choices: buy another Wii or attempt to fix mine. Since mine was already essentially useless I figured it couldn’t hurt anything to try fixing it.

After some searching I quickly learned that to do any work inside a Wii requires a Tri-Wing screwdriver just to open the case. I went to the hardware store and got a Tri-Wing bit but it was too big to be of any use on the Wii. I found this Silverwing Tri-Wing screwdriver on Amazon for under $5 that did the trick.

With trusty screwdriver in hand, I opened the Wii thusly:

With it now open I followed this guy’s advice:

Bending these small triangles down created a gap that stopped the vibration & the noise and made the Wii playable again.

Bend these small pieces down to stop the Wii disc drive's loud noise.
Bend these small pieces down to stop the Wii disc drive's loud noise.

It has some new weird sounds when the disc first spins up and when it spins it down (I assume the braking mechanism) but it’s practically silent during gameplay. Yay!

Ripping a DVD to iPhone or iPod-compatible m4v for free?

I was stuck somewhere the other day wishing I had the full movie “Cars” on my iPhone. Surprisingly, this is not something you can presently do through iTunes. After some searching I figured out an easy way to do it for free. The two programs you’ll need are good old DVD Decrypter and WinFF. Put DVD Decryptor in IFO mode and set it not to split the .vob files by size (so it rips them to one huge 6+ GB .vob file). Then drag the .vob file onto WinFF (making sure to use the proper preset for iPhone/iPod) and click “Convert.” It’ll take a while but it works. With my first attempt there seem to be some audio/video sync issues but I’ll play around with it.

Also, see this previous post for more info about WinFF and iPhone-compatible video.